Saturday, April 23, 2011
I had the great fortune to have a fantastically talented grandmother. This was both good and bad. Good because she seems to have somehow passed on all of that ability and bad because she left this world before getting a chance to show me what to do with any of it. She was an artist in her heart and a seamstress by trade. Legend has it that she had a commercial sewing machine in her possession that had the power to "sew two doors together" and never needed anything as mundane as a pattern to work from. She could look at a garment, go to the store and source some fabric, go home and whip something up on a matter of hours that would be better made and more flattering. A lot to live up to.
My own mother has no artistic or crafting abilities whatsoever, so growing up, sewing was something that other people did in factories. We had a sewing machine (the model in the photo above) that lived in our hall closet under a cover. I had never seen under the cover until one day I asked my father to help me figure out how to use it. He dragged it out, dusted it off, expertly wound the bobbin and threaded it and I was off and running. I was stunned. It was an incredible looking antique. The motor smelled funny when it ran, the entire kitchen table shook, but it had a GAS pedal. More on this later, but something with a motor attached to an actual pedal that I could make go as fast or slow as I wanted absolutely thrilled me to death. It did exactly one stitch, in one direction and you couldn't adjust the length. Very limiting, yes, but the end result was two pieces of fabric that were attached. For an eight ten year old, this was extremely liberating.